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4.2 out of 5 stars109
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2016
This has to be one of the great books. It's not easy to read but it really makes you think about how we live life today and whether or not it is the only way to live. The paper quality and the print isn't the greatest and it would probably be worth investing in a better edition but Thoreau would likely approve. I found out about this book from a website about building log cabins.
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on 1 December 2009
I found myself, overall, agreeing with one of the reviewers when he stated specifically that "Walden" is not a book to be read purely for enjoyment, it is not a thrilling read or even a very deep one in general but then one must remember in which time we live and the style used by Thoreau is one of the mid 19th Century which was prone to the type of writing he uses. Anyone who has read other novels of the time or rather written in that period will find similar styles e.g. James Fenimoore Cooper, Charles Dickens etc. In addition, this is not a novel but rather a retelling of experiences of one man in his own adventure as he would put it.

That is not to say that Thoreau does not illuminate or at times give remarkable insights especially when it came to some of the people he met who had fascinating ways of life e.g. the woodcutter. The book varies from downright mundane and tedious to being very insightful and beautiful. It's amazing how someone can do this as he writes, verging from one extreme to the other. But then it was written from journal notes as he lived his life in the woods over two years experience and during that time a person changes as he adapts to his new way of life. At first its very exciting and new, any new experience is always full of a kind of life shock whether it be painful or joyful, the thinking mind, the mind absorbed in everyday "safe" tasks which define the "normal" life are absent in this new environment which requires new creative energies to survive, after a while this way of life becomes the accepted one and starts to be drained of the vitality it possessed at the beginning as one is fully acclimatised to it and it becomes the norm, after this stage comes the usual safety associated with the walls created to keep life ordinary rather than really being alive. This is hard to do when living in the woods by yourself where you need constant awareness to survive unless its a little too close to civilisation which provides the safety net which Thoreau always had available to him. But still during the period where he was very much alive and aware, life is lived without need for too much unnecessary thought, and this is the place from where insights and great creativity burst forth.

If one wants to know what it is like to be really truly alive in the moment and you are afraid to try it yourself and would rather read about it then try the books "Abstract Wild" by Jack Turner or "Grizzly Years" by Doug Peacock. Am I wrong to criticise Thoreau so much? Yes and no, e.g. Yes:s ee the comments by John Ralston Saul on exactly this aspect of Thoreau's writing, No: look at your own life or mine for example, in each case we do not escape this ordinary life we ourselves create. For the purely lived life expressed in poetry look at the poems by Basho, no clearer or more beautiful expression of life has yet been written. I say written not lived, lived can't be written down in full only a brief glimpse or shadow of it is possible even with Basho.

As regards what is said it often betrays Thoreau's astonishingly well read mind, quotes from the Baghvad Gita or other Hindu texts surprise because in Throeau's day very few people would ever have bothered to read the Indian works, the average American thought his own life and European works to be far superior. Thoreau often quotes Latin, often without reference, and the notes at the end of the book are very helpful. Thoreau's experience becomes the one Americans want to live, at least without being in too much danger, as he would have been in the true wild still available at that time in the lives of say the trappers or mountain men of the Rockies or any native American. As such it is an in-between way of living wild.

So Thoreau's work is definitely worth reading even for only the historical value or the literature it represents. It stands by itself.
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on 17 January 2014
My order arrived right on the final day of the delivery deadline, but it has been Christmas so with the backlog that can well be expected. Good job, guys, Fab quality of book.which features vintage-style pages, friendly user lay-out with choice of wording truly worthy of such aan extraordinary and timeless muse.
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on 7 May 2014
I got this without any great expectation but more with a sense of duty that it is something one ought to have read. Imagine my surprise and pleasure to learn that is a long time classic that should not be missed. It certainly reinforces the notion that one ought to have read it
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on 15 June 2015
I think the book is alright. You have to be cautious in reading - I can't make sense sometimes of what he's trying to say cos of the 80's english.

There's still good knowledge in the half you understand
I'll go on to finish the book.
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on 6 May 2014
I don't know how to let Amazon know that the section entitled Product Description and, underneath that, About the Author - is about another author, not the author of this book. I haven't read this book but I am sure it is very good.
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on 29 September 2014
Trying to get all my favourite works onto kindle and have a library in my pocket, I couldn't leave out Walden. A nice, clear text and a few pleasant illustrations, perhaps of dubious relevance but nice anyway.
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on 11 July 2005
As an addendum to the earlier reviews posted here I'd like to suggest that the obsession thoreau has with the price of beans is, like the cetology chapters in Moby Dick, or the compulsive list making of Robinson Crusoe, as much a device for creating a mood as a dry stocktaking exercise. Thoreau is demonstrating the ritualism of a solitary existence - if you lived alone in a hut in the woods, wouldn't you become obsessed with the fruits of your daily toil? It amounts to more than a hill of beans.
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on 3 September 2014
This book is not acceptable. It as if it has been printed by Amazon rather than by a proper printer. The cover is pixelated and is poorly printed and the spine is completely blank. Not what I wanted.
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on 11 September 2014
DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION. It is a really bad example of Print on Demand. It's terrible. LOVely comver picture but all wrong inside. Big regrets. Oh and it is printed by Amazon themselves. ...
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